Ethics Quote of the Week: George Clooney

“I think it’s a stupid thing. I think it’s stupid for anyone, whether they’re celebrated or not, I don’t believe their 911 calls should be broadcast around the world.” 

"Poor Demi! The public has a right to hear us humiliate her."

—-Actor George Clooney, speaking during Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.  He was referring to the release and subsequent airing of a 911 call from a woman summoning rescue workers for actress Demi Moore, who, the caller said, was convulsing and had lapsed into semi-conscious.

Good call, George.

911 calls are considered public, but that doesn’t mean that the public needs or has to hear them, or that sleaze-factories like TMZ should put them online when their only purpose is titillation and to embarrass celebrities. There may be special circumstances that justify making a recording of a 911 call, rather than a  transcript, available to the public, but those should be exceptions. In cases like Moore’s, playing them is unfair and unkind, a clear Golden Rule violation, not that TMZ, or most journalists for that matter, would know about that.

If the media can’t control itself when it comes into possession of a 911 call that will embarrass someone who already has enough problems to deal with, then we need laws to keep 911 calls out of irresponsible hands…in other words, the news media’s hands.
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11 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Week: George Clooney

  1. Pingback: Ethics Quote of the Week: George Clooney | Ethics | Scoop.it

  2. I agree, Jack. And bravo, George. As usual, his is the voice of moral and ethical commentary too often lacking in LaLaLand. Now if only he dated women closer to his own age and IQ … (OK I admit to having a mad crush on him, LOL).

  3. I don’t agree with this kind of a blanket statement. A celebrity like Demi Moore who is going through a bunch of personal problems always has the option of retiring and not taking any further acting jobs. They have more money than God and can live very comfortably as an “ordinary person”. And many actors and actresses have done exactly this. For anyone remember Michelle Meyrink? A beautiful, popular actress in the 80’s she made her money and deliberately gave up being an actress to be an ordinary person and today is happily married living in British Columbia. Or consider Monica Lewinsky who gave up her public life and decided to live as a private citizen even though she clearly could have continued to monetarize her notoritey.

    Demi Moore wants the attention when she is acting because she makes a pile of money off of it. All her life she has sought out attention and wiped away the lines between public and private life, don’t forget this is the woman who appeared naked and pregnant on the cover of vanity fair. And now she is having problems, and she is supposed to be given privacy?

    I have no interest in listening to her 911 call and I think that it says alot more about the person who would want to listen to it than it says about Moore. But nobody is holding a gun to any celebrity’s head to continue to be a celebrity and people like Moore could never act again and spend money ever minute and still die of old are with more money than most people will ever see. They do not HAVE to continue working as an actor. If they choose to be a private citizen then that is one thing, but Moore has always chosen to make her personal life private because it makes her money. Trust me there’s plenty more actors and actresses out there who haven’t been given work and breaks because people like Moore are taking those roles, and who understand the lack of privacy and are willing to make that choice.

    • This is simply a mean-spirited and unethical position. Why not just kick her as she walks down the street too? Why not gather around her as she’s dying, point fingers at her and laugh? Celebrities don’t agree to be abused and harmed by virtue of accepting celebrity. They still have rights. They are human beings. Nobody can burst into their homes unannounced. Nobody can attack them and not be arrested. What does a voluntary cover shot on a magazine, naked or not, have to do with the media using a life and death call for emergency services as titillation? Actors do not consent to being harassed in their private lives. If they are out to dinner with their families and people want to stare, fine….they expect to be stared at. They do not consent to be harassed. They do have a private life, and they do have the right to define it as they wish, within reason.

      The incursion of publicizing 911 calls is not reasonable. It is not entertaining, and it serves no purpose. You opinion is, essentially, “Screw her; she’s got a lot of money. Oh, Boo-Hoo.”

      Nice.

    • ‘A celebrity like Demi Moore who is going through a bunch of personal problems always has the option of retiring and not taking any further acting jobs. ‘

      Or otherwise, she has to agree to the most private aspects of her life being broadcast to the world? The public has no right at all to delve into entertainer’s private lives just upon the fact that they are entertainers. Entertainers: those who act in movies or TV , or sing, or otherwise perform for people’s pleasure and entertainment. Not bugs to be put under a microscope!

  4. I don’t agree with such a blanket statement. I am not thinking of a call such as this (where there it only appeals to voyeuristic tendencies), but when the 911 call highlights official misconduct. What about the 911 tapes that show police or other officials acting in an unprofessional or illegal manner? A transcript doesn’t always convey the essence of such an incident. In such cases I think the people really do have “a need to know”.

    • I agree with that. This is an area that laws are ill-equipped to handle in the absence of ethics. If all 911 calls are not available to the press, the calls the public needs to hear will also be the ones that encounter the most official resistance. But I’ve been trying to remember when I ever heard a 911 recording that I thought was informative rather than perversely interesting. And I can’t.

      • I know of a couple that would have been very useful to hear. I know of one case where the emergency services did not respond to repeated 911 calls over a 2 hour period and one where they 911 operator refused to send someone despite urgent need. Neither of those will be heard because the 911 system ‘lost’ them. In one case, the 911 system ‘forgot’ to record it, and in another, they ‘accidentally’ used the same tapes 2 days in a row and recorded over it. I have never understood why judges accept such excuses.

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